As many people know, thanks to our friends at Forbes, our city is listed as the 3rd Most Miserable City in America. Thanks again, Forbes. And let me tell you, moving my life from a Forbes "top city" to a Forbes "worst city" is disheartening and an unpleasant pill to swallow. You may remember my thoughts about it here earlier this year.
As luck would have it, Forbes' little ranking, along with the real issues plaguing our community, lit a fire under some folks who want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. In a community where the naysayers are often ten times louder than the rest of us, it was time to stand up and take back our city. Issue by issue. Dollar by dollar. Brick by brick and job by job. I begun to hear rumblings of a "rogue group" of local business leaders who were banding together to give our town a fighting chance. And although they were just rumors, the names and titles that were being whispered were pretty impressive. If this was real and true, it appeared that this "movement" might have some weight behind it and a voice that might carry some clout.
So consider my shock when my phone rang one day with an invitation to join this hushed movement? At first I thought they had the wrong number. Seriously. But alas, for some odd reason, they meant to call me. When given the offer to attend a meeting to learn what my role would be should I accept, I agreed. It was worth an hour of my time to hear if these rumblings were true. And they were. They are. And they mean business.
I can assure you that although this group wants to be part of the solution versus sitting in our cozy homes and shaking our head with pity every single day as we watch the news, we still don't have all of the answers. What we do have is an acceptance for the challenge, albeit a surmountable challenge. We also have a passion for this city; our city. We know, as a whole, we have crippling issues, but we also know that 1,000 voices are stronger than 1. We're also committed to being a champion amongst the naysayers. We commit to being louder than them with the truth and the raw facts. We're committed to fighting for our hometown, but doing it in a way that is inclusive, welcoming and thought-provoking. We're committed to finding the answers together, across city lines, river divides, ethnicity and religion. We're uniting for the greater good, because when it's all said and done, it's for our own good. We live here and we'll raise our children here and I want this city to be something I'm proud to call home. I always have, but there's a group of roughly 100 members who want it be 300,000 people strong and proud.
Will you join me in being part of OUR solution? This city just might depend on it.
"A small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."